Sunday Spotlight… Think Pink Floyd

As music lovers, we often bring local musicians and groups to our Sunday Spotlight. We love sharing all kinds of music with our readers. This week we bring you the national touring Pink Floyd tribute band, Think Pink Floyd. I spoke to Billy Martin from Think Pink Floyd and got some information on this incredible band that delivers a “true replication of a Pink Floyd concert”.

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Obviously the band plays Pink Floyd music, when was the band formed and what inspired you to start a band in that genre?
Started in 2006. Many young people asked me if I could play Division Bell which was very new at the time. I realized there was a new generation of Pink Floyd fans and started learning more Floyd.

So you were already in a band prior to this
?
We were all in other bands. Martins Law was my band for 15 years.

Apart from Pink Floyd, what were some of your other musical influences?
Led Zeppelin, The (Grateful) Dead, Allmans, (Rolling) Stones, The Beatles. We all love these bands and the music has fine tuned us for years now.

Who’s in the band?
Billy Martin- vocals, guitar
Adam Pierson- drums
Monique Canniere- vocals, violin
Steve Sabile- guitar
Rick OConnell- bass
Heather Haze- vocals, saxophone
Chie Susuki- keys, vocals

What is in the band’s repertoire?
Think Pink Floyd performs music from:
Young Pink Floyd (1967-70)
Meddle – Echos (1971)
Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
Wish You Were Here (1975)
Animals (1977)
The Wall (1979)
A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987)
The Division Bell (1994)

To learn more about the Pink Floyd tribute band with the unique light, sound, and film show visit http://www.thinkpinkfloyd.com

What social media sites can we find Think Pink Floyd on?
Facebook
Twitter
You Tube
Google +

You can listen to Think Pink Floyd here to listen to a truly authentic Pink Floyd experience. And check out the You Tube channel for a live look!

Check out the band’s website or Facebook page for upcoming shows.
See you at the show!

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Spotlight Sunday… Greener Partners

This week we talked about the work we do in our lives, and the legacy that we leave behind. Some people, projects and organizations we come across serve as examples to us of the kind of legacy we feel make the world a better place. This Sunday we are able to spotlight one such example… Greener Partners

What is Greener Partners?
Greener Partners is a registered 501(c) non-profit organization.

What is the mission of Greener Partners?
Greener Partners connects communities through food, farms, and education.
Through our projects and programs we seek to increase and strengthen public access to fresh, seasonal and local food.
Train new farmers in resilient farming techniques and to achieve success in the growing local food economy.
Educate people of all ages about the origins of their food and empower them to create healthy communities.

What exactly does Greener Partners do, how do they accomplish that?
At Greener Partners, we believe local food is the best kind — where those who eat it feel connection to the soil it’s grown in and the people who cultivate it. In imagining a better food system, Greener Partners operates community Farm Hubs as resources for local produce and for education — as well as inspiration — about food and farming. Our farmers grow vegetables, herbs and fruit for our own Farm Market, Community Supported Agriculture members and to sell at area farmers’ markets. Our education programs engage kids, both on our farms and in area schools, through programs like The SOL Food Project and Farm field trips. To cross generations, we offer workshops for adults and families on the “lost arts” of our agricultural and cultural past that still are relevant and useful in our lives today.
With a diverse range of projects throughout the Philadelphia region, we seek to make local food accessible by offering multiple ways of experiencing fresh, local food in our communities. Through our First Generation Farmer Program we are training the next generation of farmers to possess diverse skills for cultivating a better food system.

farmexplorerThis is Greener Partners Farm Explorer truck. We have two trucks which travel more than 6500 miles each year to over 60 schools in the Philadelphia region, bursting with fresh vegetables for the kids to harvest, smell, touch and taste

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This is Longview Farm in Collegeville, where we grow food for about 300 families in a local subscription form (CSA) as well as for our education programs and for donation to food banks. Our two farms have provided more than 8000 pounds of fresh produce this year to low-income families. Longview Farm has a market open to the public and is just wrapping up a stellar apple picking season

For more information about the Greener Partners team, their partners, projects, or upcoming events you can visit http://www.greenerpartners.org

You can also find Greener Partners on Facebook and Instagram.

Greener Partners also has a blog you can read here.

Sunday Spotlight on the Road…The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Typically speaking, we usually try to keep a local spin on the people and places that we feature on our Sunday Spotlight. This past week however, one of us was fortunate enough to be visiting a spot that resonates deeply with both of us. Being avid music fans, this is something that we feel passionate about sharing. We think too that our readers, many of whom we know are avid fans as well, will enjoy it.

I’ve traveled around quite a bit in my life. I’ve been to just about every state, Ohio included. In fact, I’ve been to Ohio many times. I’ve been in, around, and through Cleveland numerous times. For whatever reason however, I had never visited the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame. I’m someone who needs music to survive and thrive, someone who thinks of music not merely as a form of entertainment, but as an accompaniment to the highs, lows, and everyday moments of our lives.

Rock music and it’s related genres, along with the sounds that helped to create it, are my genres of choice. So, it remained a mystery why I’d never tried harder to get to the hall. But it remained steady on my bucket list, ever since I put it on there way back when. Until last Friday that is.

halloffame14When you arrive, if you’re not familiar with the exterior appearance of the hall, you will probably still recognize it right away. Sitting waterside on Lake Erie, right at the edge of downtown Cleveland, it is a bright, shiny pyramid amidst the boats, stores, and office buildings. Getting in and out was a breeze. Parking was close and reasonably priced. There are several doors in the front and staff are there to assist you. We walked in with ease, right to the ticket booth, and got our tickets to see the show. Grabbing a map will come in handy, especially if you’re a particularly organized person, like to do things in an orderly way, or want to be sure you hit specific exhibits. Or you can meander freely about like I did. Just be sure you make it to all floors and halls (all of which are numbered and with clear signage) and you should be able to see everything they have to offer. They also have a café, a gift shop (of course), and nice clean restrooms on each floor. The gift shop which I thought was going to be super expensive, was actually not that bad for what it was. I spotted a t-shirt I liked and dreading the price, I flipped the tag to take a peek. $23. Not bad at all for what and where it was.

halloffame9That what and where is a matter of a bit of debate among some people. Some see it as just another tourist trap. A museum essentially, like any other, that brings in out of towners (perhaps visiting Cedar Point or other nearby Lake Erie attractions) and gives them something else to do with the family. So they come in and they plunk down their $22.00 a person and get on their way. And no doubt there are a ton of those people who come through every day. I watched several of what appeared to be the average tourist, walking hurriedly through the halls of each exhibit, glancing quickly at every case and moving on. Some stopping to snap a photo or two. Oddly enough, many of them were not even photographing anything in or about the hall. Mainly selfies taken in the hallways, or group shots of people standing in the gift shop, or the café. As I watched them take pictures, or hurriedly walk by a great exhibit with barely a glance, I thought to myself, this is why… this is why there are people in music who think this place is merely a tourist trap.

Fortunately I believe that an experience is what YOU make of it. The hall is FILLED with absolutely incredible information, photographs, and memorabilia from some of the most talented and amazing musicians and music industry professionals ever. Some celebrated and easily recognized and some not so much. But with that wealth of incredible music history at your fingertips, you’d be doing a huge disservice to yourself as a music fan if you didn’t try to check it out, and to really take the time to investigate, understand and savor all that it has to offer you.

halloffame10Aside from literally having the clothes off their backs, there are incredible gems from every band, every solo artist, that you could ever wish to see. From Nirvana’s original first demo tape, to Janis Joplin’s signature spectacles. They have a letter from the FBI received by N.W.A.’s record label, criticizing the contents of the group’s music and proclaiming it to have a negative impact on national security. They have a concert rider for a Yardbird’s 1963 concert, and what can only be described as a whacky letter penned by Charles Manson and sent in to Rolling Stone magazine as if he were just your everyday reader. You can stand and gawk at one of the original suits worn for the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. You can revel in the fact that, with every turn, in every hall, you’re standing in front of a piece of living musical history.

If you’re going, there are some things that you may want to know. The hall is open 7 days a week. It’s open from 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. everyday but Wednesdays when it stays open until 9 p.m. The cost is $22 for adult admission, $13 for kids (ages 9-12), $17 for seniors (over 65) and FREE for kids 8 and under. Memberships are available and a 6% admission tax added to each ticket goes to support Cleveland Metropolitan Schools. You can get special packages and group rates for groups of 20 or more and you must call ahead if you plan to do so. All of this information and more is available at their website.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So, I hope you’ll enjoy checking out some of the exhibits through our pictures and on our Facebook page and on Instagram. And if you’ve been thinking of going, or even if you haven’t, it’s a must see for every true fan of rock n roll music.

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halloffame15 Top: Paul Simon’s acoustic guitar on loan to the hall from his private collection. Bottom: Collection of early era Rolling Stone magazine covers and memerobilia
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Nirvana 2 original demo tapes, concert promo posters, Kurt Cobain’s guitar.
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Jimi Hendrix exhibit. Suit, guitar, boots, and jacket.

Sunday Spotlight: Jerry Garcia Week!

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Image licensed By Carl Lender [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Today, August 1st, marks what would have been the 73rd birthday of the late great Jerome John AKA Jerry Garcia. Garcia, who passed away August 9, 1995 at the age of 53, left behind a musical legacy and fans still so dedicated that the week between his birthday and date of his death is widely known as ‘Jerry Week’.

Commemorated by deadheads, music lovers, bands, musicians, artists and artisans from all over, Jerry week activities are abundant. Since our upcoming week is related to all things Jerry (and the Grateful Dead), our Sunday Spotlight for this week is coming to you a little early. It’s a sneak peek at all of the Jerry related shows coming this week in our area.

Please check back all this week for more of One Unified’s own version of Jerry Week! The Wheel keeps turning….

Jerry’s Birthday Events starting TONIGHT!
Saturday August 1st


Pure Jerry with Box of Rain
7:00 p.m. 
TLA- Theatre for the Living Arts 334 South St. Philadelphia

Steal Your Face celebrate Jerry’s Birthday
10:00 p.m.
 The Churchville Inn 1500 Bustelton Pike Churchville

Splintered Sunlight perform tonight (8/1)
at the 30th Annual Jerry Gracia Birthday Bash 
(If you’re up for a little travelling)
The event takes place annually 7/31-8/2 at 
Trips Farm 428 Jerry Garcia Way Terra Alta West Virginia

Check out Live for Live Music’s playing of 3 iconic dead shows played on this date to commemorate Jerry’s birthday!

And there’s more…

We’re getting our Jerry on all week. Check it out!

Sunday August 2nd
A benefit for one of our favorite local deadheads, EzzoFest. 3-7 pm
Leneghan’s Crusader Inn 7412 Frankford Ave Philadelphia

Wednesday August 5th
David Gans
at Trout Brook Ampitheater Trout Falls Farms 7:00 p.m.
Middleville Rd. Stillwater, NJ

Thursday, August 6th


Steal Your Face
at The Chelsea Beach Bar Grand Opening
Steal Your Face starts at 7:30
Chelsea Avenue and the Beach, Atlantic City

Thursday August 6th- Monday August 10th
10th Annual Bears Picnic
Featuring some of your favorite dead themed bands.
Liberty Festival Grounds 173 Taylor Run Rd. Roaring Branch, PA
For complete lineup and ticket info check out their website http://www.abearspicnic.com

Saturday August 8th
Splintered Sunlight
at Underground Arts 10:00 pm
1200 Callowhill St. Philadelphia

Steal Your Face
Headlining GETTYSBURG ROCKS
at The Blue Grey Gettysburg, PA
(as well as August 7th)

And if you’re reading from afar, here’s some of the best birthday and tribute events going on around the country:

Jerry Birthday Celebration with the Stolen Faces
Aug 1 2015
Stickyz Chicken Shack
Little Rock, AR

8th Annual Jerry Garcia Birthday Bash with Flagship of Fools
Aug 1 2015
Orpheum Theatre
Flagstaff, AZ

Jerry Day 2015 @ Jerry Garcia Amphitheater
Aug 2 2015
Jerry Garcia Amphitheater
San Francisco, CA

Jerry Garcia Birthday Bash with Big Sky
Aug 1 2015
Gold Room
Colorado Springs, CO

Guanabana’s Celebrates The Days Between and the Life of Jerry Garcia
Aug 8 2015
Guanabana’s
Jupiter, FL

Jerry Jam 9
Aug 8-9 2015
Firemen’s Park
Patchogue, NY

8th Annual Jerry Day ATL
Aug 2 2015
Terminal West at King Plow
Atlanta, GA

And you can follow Deadheadland on Facebook for all things Grateful dead and Jerry related including shows, events, tributes, photos, releases, and more.

Sunday Spotlight… The Rainbow Crosswalk

We hope you enjoyed your 4th of July holiday yesterday. This week we talked about pride and independence mainly as they relate to gay rights and the gay community in and around Philadelphia. If you missed our special feature LGBT50 event calendar earlier this week, you can find it here. Today in our Sunday Spotlight we’re introducing you to Philly’s Rainbow Crosswalk.

crosswalksWe talked to Fran Price to get the details on where it is, what it is, and why you should check it out. Price is the Executive Director Of Philly Pride Presents, Inc. Philly Pride is an organization that with the help of volunteer coordinators, holds pride events in the city of Philadelphia, the purpose of which is “the advancement of LGBT rights through the visibility and awareness that the parades and festivals create.”

Let me first ask you where the crosswalk is located?
“13th and Locust. Right in the heart of the Gayborhood.”

For those who aren’t familiar, what area encompasses the Gayborhood?
“It’s basically from 11th street to Broad st., actually to Juniper St. And from Walnut (though by some accounts Chestnut St.) to Pine, right in Center City.”

Where did the idea for the crosswalk come from?
“We actually had a board member who went on vacation a few years ago and saw one similar and sent us back pictures saying, “wouldn’t this be really cool to have in Philly?” We all agreed and we starting asking people about getting it done and we got a lot of people saying “no way”. Then a little over a year and a half ago someone posted something on our Facebook wall asking if we would consider doing it, or if we knew how to go about doing it. So we just started working on it from then on.”

Was it a difficult process?
“It was long process. You have to go through so many departments within the city and find the right agencies to help you.”

What was the involvement of Philly Pride Presents?
“It was our idea. We kept pressing for it. Senior Advisor Chuck Volz kept on me about it and I’d go bother whoever needed to be on top of it.”

Would you consider the crosswalk an attraction for the city?
“Absolutely. Our office is around the corner and every time I go by I see people stopping to look, taking selfies in front of it, taking pictures. I see all kinds of people. I saw three kids making a pyramid on it and getting their picture taken. I saw a gentleman today taking a picture squatting down with his baby in the carriage right in front of the rainbow.”rainbow

Do you think the recent Supreme Court decision on marriage equality being so close to the dedication might actually bolster the tourism aspect of it?
“I’m sure it will. There are only 4 or 5 cities that have anything like it, so it is a draw. Plus rainbows are colorful. No matter who you are, rainbows mean beautiful colors. People love them. Kids love rainbows. Think of all the kids toys that are done in rainbow colors. We have a different meaning for it of course, but people love rainbows. Someone said the other day that now they know where to tell people to meet them in the city. Meet me at the rainbow crosswalk. It can be another landmark or point of interest that is easy for someone coming in to town to find and meet.

That’s a great idea. Do you know what other cities have a similar crosswalk?
“I believe Seattle, Vancouver, and San Francisco have them. I think Chicago also has something similar, but they are temporary. If people want to see them or visit them, they can go online and look up rainbow crosswalks and the different locations will come up.”

There’s a lot of special events going on this weekend with the LGBT50 events. How does that tie in with the crosswalk?
“We’re actually having the dedication of the crosswalk this Sunday at 1:00 (note: at interview time the LGBT50 site states that the event begins at 11:30 a.m. however Philly Pride’s Facebook page notes the time was moved to 1:00). I believe we have a few of the original protestors in town for the dedication and we’re actually planning to have them be the first to walk across after the dedication.”

And there is an event following the dedication?
“It’s the Annual Reminders block party. That’s the finale of all of the events for the week basically. That will be held icrosswalks5n the Gayborhood as well. We’ll be closing off 10th street. We have lots of vendors and networking and it’ll be fun for everyone. (Price noted that they were anticipating roughly 40 vendors initially but are at 107 at the time of this interview)

PhillyGayPride.org has more details on the dedication, block party and more. If you can’t make it out to the dedication or the block party, the crosswalk is an attraction that fortunately you can access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for free. Unique and symbolic, it’s something we think our readers would like to know about, and something they’d like to check out for themselves. Not to mention, it’s very picture worthy. Instagram anyone? We feel it is well deserving of this week’s Sunday Spotlight.

Sunday Spotlight…Hotlanta

Today we’re talking to two original members of the band Hotlanta, Tad Isch (founder and drummer) and Larry Bishov (drummer). Hotlanta is a fabulous Allman Brothers tribute band you should definitely take the time to go see.

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How did Hotlanta get started and what inspired you to start it?
Tad: “My original mission with this band was to put together a bunch of musicians to play the Allman Brothers music because of my love of the music. And that was fine and if we got to play some places that’s great, if not that’s cool. I pulled out an old recording from when I was a kid, when I was about 18-20 years old, I still have the original recordings of those songs. I actually bought a reel to reel just so I could play them and it inspired me. I was at a party with some old friends and I walked outside and said to my buddy, “You wanna start an Allman Brothers tribute band?” I didn’t say anything more. The next day I posted on Craigslist, “Does anyone want to play Allman Brothers music?” And I found someone and it multiplied from there. Larry was one of the first people to join the band. He’s the only one to be with me since the beginning. He’s loyal, a good friend, dedicated, I can’t say enough about his commitment to the band. Over the years, we’ve turned over personnel quite a bit, for various reasons; addictions, divorces, all kinds of reasons. So, I learned to try to find people that were pretty wholesome and didn’t appear to have any major issues, had a car and a life, and have found unbelievably talented musicians. As the band grew and got better, we found even better musicians. People would leave due to personal reasons or whatever. For the most part, it’s been a pretty harmonious relationship and our band has been pretty happy and friendly and that’s been one of the best virtues of the band.”
Larry: “No back biting, no political dramas. Usually when you get a group of people, that tends to happen, and it really hasn’t happened much at all.”

That’s a tough thing to find when you have a group working as one.
Tad: “We kind of let things flow. We have such good players in the band. Everybody’s a really good player. There’s no one real single stand out. If you like guitar, you’re gonna like one of our guitar players. You like drums, you’re gonna like one of the drummers. And so on. The band is just so talented.”

What year was the band formed?
Larry: “2008”
Tad: “That’s it. Larry’s the brain of the band.” (Laughter)

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How many members are in the band? What kind of history and experience is there?
Tad: “8 members. Larry, why don’t you tell her the configuration.”
Larry: “Tad and I are the drummers. The third one is our percussionist (hand percussions). Then we have 2 lead guitar players. A keyboard player. And a lead singer…”
Tad: “And our bass player was a Suzuki trained violinist turned bass [player]. One of our guitar players has a pretty starry past. He played with members of Jimi Hendrix’s band after Hendrix had died, in a special project. He was in the Soul Survivors for 11 years. He’s got a pretty good past. He’s a tremendous guitar player and brings a lot of repeat people out to the shows cause he’s just so good.

Three years ago I was invited to attend an Allman Brothers music theory camp up in the Catskills. It was kind of strange how it all went down, but regardless, to make a long story short; I was able to attend on a scholarship, which was kind of amazing because they only gave one. I went to the Catskills and there were most of the Allman Brothers, members of Mississippi Allstars, a couple of people from Government Mule, one guy from Tedeschi Trucks band. All these people are there and I’m like, “You’re kidding me!” And all we did all week was take classes from them and play with them. All week, until 3:00 in the morning we’d be jamming. It was crazy. So for 3 years now, I’ve trained with the lead drummer (Butch Trucks: one of the founders and lead drummer of the Allman Brothers) of the Allman Brothers. It’s been pretty cool cause I’ve learned a lot of his stuff and been able to bring it back and bring it to Larry as well. Plus I’ve been doing some touring with him now that the Allman Brothers have retired. I’ve gotten sorta friendly with the guy. I have a place in Florida and he’s down south as well. So we’ve done a couple shows down there. We did one in NYC, blues clubs where he’s played with various musicians. I’ve played with so many musicians of note because of attending these (camps). I’m going back in August. It’ll be my fourth time going up there. Supposedly, the whole Allman Brothers band is gonna be there. I doubt Greg Allman will be there, but according to Butch, he said the whole band was coming. So, we’ll see. I can’t tell you what it’s been like to get on stage and play with those guys. To be able to sit next to Butch and play is insane. Usually I’m looking over and looking at Larry. To see Butch Trucks sitting there is pretty shocking. It’s really been fun.”

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Was there a reaction when you told him you were in an Allman Brothers tribute band?
Tad: “When I told Butch originally, when I met him 4 years ago, that I was in an Allman Brothers tribute band and that I played his part, he kind of looked at me with ‘these eyes’. He wasn’t real receptive at first. Then I talked to Oteil, who’s the bass player in the band, and he was pretty cool about it. Greg Allman commented and said that imitation was the highest form of flattery. That was kind of nice.”

Were people receptive to seeing an Allman Brothers tribute band out of the gate?
Larry: “They were. The first one was in the summer of 2008 at a barn gig.”

A “barn” gig?
Tad: “Yeah. A friend of mine has a huge estate with a barn out back. Has monster parties and said “Why don’t you bring your band out?” He gave us our first opportunity. We played and the people freaked. We freaked because the people freaked. We were like “Wow! I guess we’re better than we think we are”. We had some pretty good musicians there saying “Holy crap! You guys are good!” That’s kind of how things started. We went back to the garage and kept playing and practicing. We only had about 15-18 songs. I said to Larry “We need about 45 songs. We don’t have enough”. One thing that Larry and I experienced over the years, is that  some of our members wanted to do other stuff…Skynard, 38 Special, this and that…and I always had to really resist. I told Larry in the beginning that we can’t let go, we have to remain pure. At least till we’ve got our complete songbook mastered. Then we can throw some other stuff in. Larry can tell you, I never wavered on that.”
Larry: “We’d have people come in like “yeah, yeah, yeah” (to playing all Allman Brothers) and then when they get in the band they’d go “I don’t wanna do all Allman Brothers”. But that’s what it was and they knew that coming in.”
Tad: “My original thing was playing the old tunes. The old way. Now I’ve come to realize, especially after going to the Beacon, that there’s a whole new fan base out there (20’s, 30’s, 40’s), that only know the Beacon band, the current band. They don’t know the original band, Duane Allman… and most of them don’t even know who Berry Oakley is. They have no idea. I realized that the value to the fan right now is recreating the Beacon music. Current Allman Brothers band. We now take them through more decades of Allman Brothers music.

The reason for our mission was that I didn’t want to play bars and stuff like that. I did that as a kid. I wanted to try to jump over the bars to the higher end clubs, blues clubs, festivals and theaters. That was our objective and I didn’t wanna play 8 shows a month. I wanted to play 1 or 2 premium shows a month. Larry’s spent plenty of years in the clubs, we all have. And the nice thing about Larry; he’s worked with me, molded himself to be what we need to make it sound right. It’s hard because he’s always been a lead drummer. Now we’re working together. Larry has to tactfully configure himself in between the cracks. He’s the backbone and I get to elaborate and do the crazy stuff. It all goes together. We’ve both learned not to overplay.”
Larry: “Otherwise it’ll sound like a bunch of drums falling down the steps.”

I saw you guys play at Pennypack twice and was so bummed you aren’t there this year!
Tad: “This year, for whatever reason, they said we were up between two other bands. It’s funny because last year they said we were probably one of the best bands they’d ever had.”

Absolutely! I’d say Hotlanta and the Pink Floyd tribute were two of the best!!!
Tad: “The Pink Floyd band is REALLY good. I was flattered that they put us in class of that band.”

I’m disappointed you’re not on the schedule.
Tad: “I was bummed. We love that venue. We love those big outdoor shows. So you were there when Brandon (Niederauer) was there [Brandon is a child musical prodigy that played with Hotlanta at Pennypack]. Do you know what’s going on with Brandon?”

I don’t.
Tad: “He was just named the lead in a broadway play!”
Larry: “School of Rock.”

Wow! That kid deserves it. He’s incredible.
Tad: “He’s already played with everybody. He’s played with all the major acts.”
Larry: “I can say I shared a box of Good n’ Plenty’s with him” (laughter)
Tad: “It’s pretty cool. I’ll see him next month. He’ll be up there. I saw him in New York a couple of months ago with Butch. He’ll be at the camp this year. He’s one of the better guitar players, even out of the adults. ”

So, getting back to Hotlanta, how did the band proceed from that first barn gig?
Larry: “We just rehearsed once a week at least. Got the songs down. Then made cold calls to clubs. We got in a couple of places without even having to demo!”
Tad: “At one point, we didn’t even have a lead singer secured. We booked the show (their first at Pennypack) for July and it was February or March and I was like “I’ve gotta find a lead singer….quick.”

When you have a situation like that, having a void in the band, how do you fill that spot?
Larry: “We have two keyboard players on the bench. A couple of bass players on the bench, for fill ins. We have a back up singer that we’ve used occasionally.”
Tad: “We’ve been really blessed with quality talent, replacements. We’ve been really lucky. Vocalists is one of the hardest things. My philosophy is that anytime I’ve had to replace a player, I always try to improve the position if possible. We’ve just been so lucky. People come to us and it’s been almost magical.”

What’s been your favorite moment(s) so far as a band?
Larry: “There’s a couple of them. When we played the Phoenixville Blues Festival. We headlined that like three times in its inception.”
Tad: “Pennypack Park.”
Larry: “Yeah, Pennypack Park. Those are the biggies.”
Tad: “Phoenixville was really fun because people were right up at the stage, just jam-packed for as far as the eye can see. And the people are up at the stage screaming, smiling, we just love that. They’re having a good time, dancing. There’s nothing better. There’s just nothing better as a musician, to see people looking at you and smiling and loving what you’re doing. Probably one of the most rewarding things for me, when we go to these festivals, is to watch the other bands watching us and dancing and shaking. It’s really a blast.”
Larry: “It’s not about the money.”
Tad: “Yeah, it’s not about the money. We’re a mature bunch of guys that have had some musical credits over the years. We’re adults, we’ve raised families and now we’re just doing what we want to do.”

Have you ever gone to Peachfest (a music festival started by the Allman Brothers Band in 2012)?
Tad: “Yes. I go every year. I’m going this year. I got backstage passes and everything! Since my drum teacher is Butch Trucks, I can get into a lot of this stuff. I go to Peach Festival, then I go to camp and then the next day Butch is doing a show in Long Island with Berry Oakley Jr., which is Berry Oakley’s, the original bass prayer from the Allman Brothers, son. I may go to that unless I’m too tired to go. We’ll see.”

What’s your dream venue, if you could play anywhere?
Tad: “I would like to play Red Rocks. I’m into the outdoors. (Outdoor) theaters are really cool. They’re just wonderful and intimate.”
Larry: “I’d say that’s a choice spot.”

To learn more about Hotlanta, visit some of their social media sites:
Facebook: Hotlanta band live
YouTube: Hotlanta band live
Website: http://www.hotlantabandlive.com

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Sunday Spotlight: Jersey Shore Edition

sea_isle_city_signSummer is here. For many locals in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas this means one if not many trips to the Jersey shore. If you’re not familiar with, or have never been to the shore, let us give you a few basic facts. One, the Jersey shore is nothing, absolutely nothing, like you may have seen on the tv show of the same name. And the further south you go, the less like it it becomes. Two, if you’re talking to someone from Philly and ask them where they are going on vacation and they say “I’m going ‘down the shore'”, they mean that they are hitting one of the shore points that line coastal New Jersey from top to bottom. We here in this area take for granted that sometimes we say things to people and they have no idea what the heck we are talking about (See also: going up the mountains. This means that they are taking a trip to the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania).

So this summer, we’re going ‘down the shore’ as part of our Sunday Spotlight series. Out first stop, Sea Isle City. A quick seaisle1stop at the Sea Isle visitor’s center located at 300 John F. Kennedy Blvd. in Sea Isle, provides you with a map and guides for everything going on in Sea Isle this summer from movie nights to music events to midnight munchie spots. A booklet outlining transportation, beach guidelines, and the best places to eat just to name a few things will help the first time visitor navigate this friendly beach town.
We spoke to a few people who were at the visitor center and around town in hopes of getting the scoop on why Sea isle City is worthy of our first Jersey Shore Edition spotlight. One woman we spoke to said that Sea Isle has “the perfect balance for a shore town.” Some towns she said, “are a little bit rowdy and cater more to a younger party type crowd. And some are obviously much more quiet and upscale, almost too quiet. Sea Isle has young and old, something for everyone. It’s family friendly but still fun for college kids and spring break types too.”

It’s true that our guide showed a good blend of activities for both adults and kids and the town is full of places for kids to play and adults to party. There’s 3 playgrounds, a kid’s activity zone, and free family dance parties every week. No kids? No problem. Sea Isle is loaded with things to do, places to go, and people to see. And when we asked where people’s favorite places to go were, we got no shortage of opinions. While you can easily find all of the whats, whens and wheres in the visitor’s guide, or ask just about any one of the friendly shop owners or servers you’ll encounter, there were a few things that we just needed to get first hand opinions on: pizza, breakfast, and of course beer.

Who has the best breakfast in town? Rick’s Breakfast House (at 61st and Landis) got the top honors of those we asked. One commenter said, “the breakfast sandwiches are out of this world.” Another reminded, “they only take cash so be sure to stop at the ATM first, but it’s totally worth it.” We found that to be true of several local businesses and eateries in Sea Isle so take note and carry cash, or at least be sure to have your ATM card handy.

Where should we go for a cold beer in an unpretentious environment?deaddog
A slight difference in opinion here but a little research actually backed up both claims. A long time Sea Isle summer resident told us that The Springfield fit the bill perfectly. “It’s a little older crowd and it’s been around forever. If you’ve been coming here a while, you’ve been drinking at The Springfield. Plus they have ‘No Shower Happy Hour’ and the outdoor bar has live music every day.” As someone who’s had more than a few beers at The Springfield over the years, I can’t say I disagree. And while our other responder seemed to like The Springfield as well, she told us that “The Dead Dog is the most laid back bar on the island. If you just want to go hang out and have a few beers this is the best spot. If you’re trying to dance and pick up guys or whatever, save it for LaCosta or The OD (Ocean Drive).”

Where should we go for really good pizza?
We got a mix of opinions here but at the end of the day there were two that prevailed. Basilicos (on 43rd st) got good feedback from everyone. It’s a full scale restaurant so you can get more than just pizza, and as one person said, “their sauce is out of this world and the pizza is the best on the island by far.” Another popular choice we got was DeNunzio’s. While we can’t argue that beachfront pizza is living the dream, our new found friends told us that “the brick oven pizza is so, so delicious.” Who are we to argue. Honorable mentions: Uncle Oogies, a Sea Isle staple that delivers to the beach (yes, to the beach) and Azzura.

And if we’re looking for good live music, where is the best place to be?
A handful we asked, and a handful all answered, the OD. The Ocean Drive located at 40th st. and Landis ave. in the heart of Sea Isle, has been the island’s hot spot for generations. Boasting a ‘No Shower Happy Hour, tons of drink specials, and an outdoor bar and grill, it’s definitely one of the most popular places in Sea Isle. Entertainment nightly, with bands like seashore staple Secret Service, have kept people coming back for years.

seaisle3seaisle2While we’ve covered our basic shore point needs of beer, beach and bands, there are a million other things to do and see in Sea Isle. Come down and check it out for yourself. Check out our sneak peak at summer 2015 below and have a great time checking out Sea Isle City this summer. Bonus: Sea Isle runs a jitney (shuttle bus) service during the summer to help you get around a little easier while visiting. For the bulk of the summer it runs 7 days a week from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. It runs up and down Landis ave from 29th st. to 94th st. and will stop at basically any corner where someone is waiting to flag it down. So there’s no excuse to get behind the wheel if you’ve had one too many!

Sea Isle City Food Truck Rally June 26th, 2015 – June 28th, 2015
Kix McNutley’s 6400 Landis Ave., Sea Isle City, NJ 08243

Sea Isle City’s Got Talent June 26th, 2015 – August 14th, 2015
Excursion Park 40th St. & Pleasure Ave., Sea Isle City, NJ 08243

Free Movies Under the Stars
Excursion Park, JFK Blvd and Pleasure Ave. Dusk
June 30 – “Paddington”
July 7 – “The Boxtrolls”
July 14 – “Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July”
July 21 – “The Lego Movie”
July 28 – “Earth to Echo”
August 4 – “Planes – Fire and Rescue”
August 11 -“Maleficent”
August 18 – “Dolphin Tale 2”
August 25 – “Annie: It’s the Hard Knock Life” (2014)
September 2 – “Cinderella” (2015)

Free Concerts Under the Stars
Excursion Park, 8-10pm
June 20 – Split Decision (Pop)
June 27 – Lights Out (Four Seasons Tribute)
*July 4 – Atlantic Pops Orchestra 7:30-9pm, followed by Fireworks (Rain date: July 5)
July 11 – Real Diamond (Neil Diamond Tribute)
July 18 – BSTREETBAND (Bruce Springsteen Tribute)
July 25 – The Glimmer Twins (Rolling Stones Tribute)
August 1 – Masquerade (R&B)
August 8 – Separate Ways The Band (Journey Tribute)
August 15 – Alan Jackson & Garth Brooks Tribute
August 22 – The Rockets (Variety)
August 29 – Don’t Call Me Francis (Variety)
September 5 – Bigg Romeo (Variety)